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DMN: No surprise in Favre-Chilly rift

Vikings QB wants the freedom to make the right call. Michael Lombardi

Print This December 24, 2009, 11:52 AM EST

QUOTE: “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” -- Agnes M. Pahro

Happy holidays to everyone. Enjoy the time with friends, family and loved ones.

This whole Brett Favre-Brad Childress saga is really nothing new in Minnesota. If you questioned former Viking quarterbacks Gus Frerotte or Brad Johnson, they would back up all of Favre’s comments. In fact, last summer I wondered how Childress would handle Favre changing the plays because everyone in the NFL knew these two would have issues on this subject.

Calling audibles in the Minnesota offense is a no-no — Childress wants to control the game and has never allowed his quarterback the freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage — even if the play called in the huddle might not be the best one. Childress refers to changing plays at the line at “seeing ghosts,” but do you think Peyton Manning is ghost chasing? Childress does not call the plays, but he believes in the system, and a large part of the success of the system is to run the plays called.

When watching a game, you’ll often notice a quarterback making a signal with his hands that represents a kill signal, or you may even hear him yell, “Kill, kill, kill.” What this means is simply that two plays were called in the huddle, for example, 94 weak or 97 solid. When he comes to the line, the line expects to block for 94 weak -- but if he yells “kill,” then they run 97 solid. It saves time and eliminates any hearing problems in loud stadiums. But this is not an audible. This is called “packaging of the offense” based on the defensive looks, and it’s not where Childress and Favre have their issues.

Childress does not want Favre to stray from the offense — and Favre wants the freedom to take advantage of the system to make the right call at the right time. Both are strong in their opinions about how the offense should flow, and this issue will not go away with a meeting. It will only go away when one of them is willing to make a change.

This is not about Favre being a “diva.” Rather, it’s about Favre wanting to use his experience and knowledge to help the team win — very Peyton Manning-like. Favre wanted to come to Minnesota but he had a condition – he didn’t want to be involved in training camp.

With Favre at quarterback, the Vikings won games and built a huge lead in the NFC North, and Childress was rewarded with a huge contract extension. Isn’t it ironic that every time Favre’s performance results in everyone receiving a new contract, he gets drawn into a fire based on the security he provided to those around him?

I would think it would be prudent on Childress’ part to find a common ground in this area -- then focus on how he can get his team to play better. The Vikings’ effort and performance in Carolina had nothing to do with changing plays -- it had to do with their execution.

The real issue in Minnesota is the execution on both sides of the ball.

Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi

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